16. January 2023
Prof. Hans Peter Lenz (1934–2022) Obituary
The Institute of Powertrains and Automotive Technology, the Faculty of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Vienna University of Technology mourn Senator e.h. Em. o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. techn. Dipl.-Ing. Hans Peter Lenz, who passed away on December 31, 2022.

Porträtfoto Hans Peter Lenz

Prof. Hans-Peter Lenz was born in Bonn on July 9, 1934. After an industrial internship, he studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Aachen. He then worked as a research assistant to Professor Essers at the Institute for Automotive Engineering and Internal Combustion Engines at Aachen Technical University. During this time he was involved in the development of suspension systems for special vehicles. From 1962, he was a research assistant and a doctoral student at the Institute of Thermal Engineering and Internal Combustion Engines at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich under Prof. Berchtold, where he obtained his doctorate in 1965 on the atomization of liquids and the application of unsteady hydrodynamics to fuel injection in internal combustion engines.


In 1965, he started in the industry as a test engineer at Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz AG in Cologne, where he was involved in the development of high-speed diesel engines. Just one year later, he was assigned to set up and manage the research department of Deutsche Vergaser Gesellschaft (Solex-Zenith-Stromberg), the largest European manufacturer of automotive carburetors and automotive fuel pumps at the time. In 1970 he moved to Daimler-Benz AG in Stuttgart. There he took over the management of carburetor engine development and the research and development programs with the public sector and associations.


On January 1, 1974, he was appointed full professor and head of the Institute of Internal Combustion Engines and Automotive Engineering (since 2010 renamed Institute of Powertrains and Automotive Technology) at Vienna University of Technology.


An important focus of his research, in addition to increasing the efficiency of engines and thus reducing consumption, was minimizing the pollutant emissions of internal combustion engines, which earned him the title of “engine pope” in the trade press. “My concern was always environmentally friendly mobility,” Prof. Lenz said. He was also instrumental in introducing modern exhaust catalysts in Europe. As an advisor to the Austrian federal government, he was instrumental in making Austria an international pioneer with strict legislation in 1985 that required the use of the 3-way catalytic converter. This model was later adopted by the EU. Particularly noteworthy is Prof. Lenz’s active cooperation with domestic and foreign research institutions and industrial partners, which gave the institute a high international reputation. In 2002 Prof. Lenz retired, but remained closely connected to Vienna University of Technology and his former institute.


ÖVK and International Vienna Motor Symposium

The transfer of knowledge and new findings in science have always been of great concern to Hans Peter Lenz. Thus, as early as 1979, he organized the first symposia in the field of motor vehicles and the environment at Vienna University of Technology. After organizing and hosting the International FISITA (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Ingénieurs des Techniques de l’Automobile) Congress in Vienna in 1984, he founded the Austrian Society of Automotive Engineers (ÖVK) in 1985, with which he subsequently organized the International Vienna Motor Symposium together with his institute.


Under his leadership, this has become one of the world’s leading events of its kind. The Vienna Motor Symposium with over 1,000 participants is held annually at the Hofburg Vienna Congress Center. Leading scientists and managers from all over the world present their latest results in engine development, fuel cells, alternative fuels, batteries, hybrid technology, exhaust gas purification and future legislation. The program is accompanied by an exhibition.


Prof. Lenz was very concerned about the connection between ÖVK and Vienna University of Technology, which was exemplified by his taking over the sponsorship of a lecture hall at the Getreidemarkt campus, which is now called “GM8/9 – Lecture Hall of the International Vienna Motor Symposium”.


In addition to his outstanding research, teaching and organizational talents, Prof. Lenz also had a special human, almost fatherly leadership gift. In addition to an excellent relationship with his staff, it was important to him to maintain a connection with the graduates and assistants (“former assistants”) of his institute, whom he invited annually, together with the current doctoral students, to the legendary “Mariazell Institute Weekends”, as well as to the “Heurigen with a special occasion” organized for each new “doctor”. Under his leadership, 70 doctoral students earned their doctorates, many of whom went on to careers in the automotive industry. In addition, countless conference papers, diploma theses and scientific publications were written.


Awards and honors

In recognition of his outstanding achievements, he has received numerous awards and honors, some of which are listed below:

1978 State Prize for Energy Research
1984 Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, 1st class
1985 Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
1986 ARBÖ: Medal of Honor in Silver
1991 Grand Silver Medal of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria
1992 ARBÖ: Environmental Protection Award within the framework of the Great Austrian Automobile Award 1992
1995 IGM Austria: 1995 prize for special achievements in the field of motoring
1997 Golden Decoration of Honor for Services to the Province of Vienna
2002 Professional Association of the Austrian Vehicle Industry: Honorary Award of the Vehicle Association Jubilee Foundation
2004 Medal of Merit of the ÖAMTC “pro merito” in gold
2008 VDI Society for Vehicle and Traffic Engineering: Benz-Daimler-Maybach Medal of Honor
2012 Béla Barényi Award of the Working Group for Veteran Motorists (AMV) Austria and Robert Bosch AG


Prof. Lenz was particularly fond of his family and his wife Margarete was always involved in the organization of events. She was responsible for organizing the supporting program of the International Vienna Motor Symposium.


Hans Peter Lenz appreciated hiking and traveling, as a sport he loved rowing and he was a member of the First Vienna Rowing Club LIA. He also appreciated art and culture and had a special fondness for opera. Attending the Vienna University of Technology Ball at the Hofburg was an annual fixture for him.


With Prof. Hans Peter Lenz, the Vienna University of Technology loses an outstanding scientist and technician who succeeded in generating new knowledge and making it known to a broad professional community and the public. The Institute of Powertrains and Automotive Technology mourns the loss of a dear colleague – his spirit and his work will live on. With deep gratitude and sympathy.


Geringer and Hofmann
Institute of Powertrains and Automotive Technology, Vienna University of Technology